Abbildungen der Seite


the river; ladies crowding their decks and streamers floating on the wind. Sloops dotted the harbours, while noble ships were seen in the offing. Mills, fac. tories, and light-houses-canals, rail-roads and bridges, all took their appropriate positions.

Then came the advertisements, choicely worded and carefully vague, never setting forth any thing which might not come true at some time or other ; yet leaving the buyer with. out excuse if he chose to be taken in.

An auctioneer was now to be procured (for lots usually went rather heavily at private sale, and this auctioneer must not be such a one as any Executive

ke, but a man of genius, or ready invention, of fluent speech ; one who had seen something of the world, and above all, one who must be so thoroughly acquainted with the property, and so entirely convinced of its value, that he could vouch on his own personal respectability, for the truth of every statement. He must be able to exhibit certificates from no mat. ter whom-Tom-a-Nokes perhaps—but “ residing on the spot”—and he must find men of straw to lead the first bids. And when all this had been attended to, it must have required some nerve to carry the matter through; to stand by, while the poor artizan, the journeyman mechanic, the stranger who had brought his little all to buy government land to bring up his young family upon, staked their poor means on strips of land which were at that moment a foot under water. I think many of these gentlemen earned their money.

It is not to be supposed that the preliminaries I have enumerated, preceded every successful land-sale. Many thousand acres were transferred from hand to hand



with a rapidity which reminded one irresistibly of the old French game of “le petit bon homme" (anglicised into Robin's alive')—while all gained save him in whose hand Robin died.

I have known a piece of property bought at five hundred dollars, sold at once for twenty thousand ; five thousand counted down, and the remainder secured by bond and mortgage. Whether these after payments were ever made, is another question, and one which I am unable to answer. I mention the transaction as one which was performed in all truth and fairness savouring nothing of the "tricksy spirit" on which I have been somewhat diffuse.

I must not omit to record the friendly offer of one of the gentlemen whose adventures I have recapitulated, to take “two Montacute lots at five hundred dollars each." As this was rather beyond the price which the owner had thought fit to affix to his ordinary lots, he felt exceedingly obliged, and somewhat at a loss to account for the proposition, till his friend whispered, 66 and you shall have in payment a lot at New-NewYork at a thousand ; and we have not sold one at that I can assure you.”

The obliged party chanced to meet the agent for New-New-York about a year after and inquired the fortunes of the future emporium- the number of inhabitants, &c.

6 There's nobody there,” said he “but those we hire to come.”

[ocr errors]


Mrs. Hardcastle. I wish we were at home again. I never met so many accidents in so short a journey. Drenched in the mud, overturned in the ditch, jolted to a jelly, and at last to

GOLDSMITH.—She Stoops to Conquer.

lose our way.


At length came the joyful news that our moveables had arrived in port; and provision was at once made for their transportation to the banks of the Turnip. But many and dire were the vexatious delays, thrust by the cruel Fates between us and the accomplishment of our plan ; and it was not till after the lapse of several days that the most needful articles were selected and bestowed in a large waggon which was to pioneer the grand body. In this waggon had been reserved a seat for myself, since I had far too great an affection for my chairs and tables, to omit being present at their debarcation at Montacute, in order to ensure their undisturbed possession of the usual complement of legs. And there were the children to be packed this time,little roley-poley things, whom it would have been in vain to have marked—“this side up,” like the rest of the baggage.

A convenient space must be contrived for my plants among which were two or three tall geraniums and an enormous Calla Ethiopica. Then D'Orsay must be accommodated, of course ; and, to crown all, a large basket of live fowls; for we had been told that there were none to be purchased in the vicinity of Montacute. Besides these, there were all our travelling trunks ; and an enormous square box crammed with articles which we then in our greenness considered indispensa. ble. We have since learned better.

After this enumeration, which yet is only partial, it will not seem strange that the guide and director of our omnibus was to ride

“ On horseback after we."

He acted as a sort of adjutant-galloping forward to spy out the way, or provide accommodations for the troop-pacing close to the wheels to modify our ar. rangements, to console one of the imps who had bumped its pate, or to give D'Orsay a gentle hint with the riding-whip when he made demonstrations of mutinyand occasionally falling behind to pick up a stray handkerchief or parasol.

The roads near Detroit were inexpressibly bad. Many were the chances against our toppling load's preserving its equilibrium. To our inexperience the risks seemed nothing less than tremendous—but the driver so often reiterated, “ that a'n't nothin',” in reply to our despairing exclamations, and, what was better, so constantly proved his words by passing the most frightful inequalities (Michiganicé “ sidlings”) in safety, that we soon became more confident, and ventured to think of something else besides the ruts and mud-holes.

Our stopping-places after the first day were of the

ordinary new country class--the very coarsest accom. modations by night and by day, and all at the dearest rate. When every body is buying land and scarce any body cultivating it, one must not expect to find living either good or cheap : but, I confess, I was surprised at the dearth of comforts which we observed every where. Neither milk, eggs, nor vegetables were to be had, and those who could not live on hard salt ham, stewed dried apples, and bread raised with " salt risin?,” would necessarily run some risk of starvation.

One word as to this and similar modes of making bread, so much practised throughout this country. It is my opinion that the sin of bewitching snow-white flour by means of either of those abominations, “ salt risin'," " milk emptin's," “ bran 'east," or any of their


” odious compounds, ought to be classed with the turning of grain into whiskey, and both made indictable of. fences. To those who know of no other means of producing the requisite sponginess in 'bread than the wholesome hop-yeast of the brewer, I may be allowed to explain the mode to which I have alluded with such hearty reprobation. Here follows the recipe :

To make milk emptin's. Take quantum suf. of good sweet milk-add a teaspoon full of salt, and some water, and set the mixture in a warm place till it ferments, then mix your bread with it ; and if you are lucky enough to catch it just in the right moment before the fermentation reaches the putrescent stage, you may make tolerably good rolls, but if you are five minutes too late, you will have to open your doors and windows while your bread is baking.--Verbum sap.

“Salt risin'" is made with water slightly salted and

« ZurückWeiter »